Over the hour-long conversation, the two exposed key parts of each other’s plans, some of which have not been discussed publicly.
Leipholtz acknowledged that Better Together could have added a requirement for a local vote, even to a state constitutional amendment. He rejected the idea of a city “bailout,” but agreed that the new government was aiming to pay down city debt within the first 10 years, something it couldn’t do without saving and tax-sharing from the merger. And he agreed that the Better Together plan would indeed shift resources — police officers, for instance — from the wealthy to the needy.
“To most places, that’s a good thing,” Leipholtz said. “You put police officers where you want to address crime the most. And as novel as that is in St. Louis, that’s how most regions just operate.”
At the same time, Leipholtz painted municipal officials as leaders who have repeatedly failed to act.
Kelly, in response, repeatedly shifted blame to city and county leaders.
“You know, those are the issues that, really, the county executive is supposed to tackle,” Kelly said of regional woes.